FORESIGHT SPEAKER, CONSULTANT, AUTHOR
John Smart is a global futurist, foresight consultant, and entrepreneur. He is CEO of Foresight University (Ann Arbor, MI and Los Gatos, CA), a foresight training consultancy. He is also founder of the Acceleration Studies Foundation, a nonprofit focused on understanding and describing human adaptiveness in a world of accelerating technological change.
John’s expertise is in foresight development. His mission is to help leaders, entrepreneurs, and teams to develop best-in-class foresight process, master the Eight Skills of Foresight and Action, and achieve more adaptive futures for themselves, their teams, and their organizations.
For a list of these and other key foresight books, see The Foresight Guide, 2016.
Good futurists (foresight speakers) present important and potentially relevant ideas, trends, data, and questions about the changing competitive environment to your stakeholders, in a way that entertains, inspires, and generates robust discussion and better strategy, plans, and actions. I’ve been a full-time futurist since 2000, and have delivered keynotes to hundreds of satisfied audiences.
Good foresighters (foresight professionals and consultants) will help your team improve their own strategic discussions about the future, help elicit and map diverse and relevant expert and group opinions, help you uncover implicit assumptions and key disagreements, find better data, models, drivers, trends, constraints, and weak signals to reduce uncertainty, and generate improved forecasts, scenarios, real options, and plans. They help you identify, benchmark and strengthen your current foresight process and culture, so that every stakeholder can get better at anticipating, creating, and managing positive change. I’ve developed undergrad and graduate courses in foresight, and I consult in foresight process and culture for dozens of leaders and their organizations.
Futurists and foresighters may not know more than you about the long-term future, especially in your subspecialty. But the better ones are constantly learning, teaching, and consulting about global and industry trends, innovations, and strategic responses to change, and can help you and your team see and adapt ahead of your competitors. In a world of accelerating technological change, good foresight process and culture are incredibly valuable to every leader and organization. Let me show you how.
John Smart is CEO of Foresight U (Ann Arbor, MI and Los Gatos, CA), a foresight learning and development organization, and president of the Acceleration Studies Foundation, a nonprofit studying adaptiveness under conditions of accelerating technological change. He is also founder of FERN, the Foresight Education and Research Network, creating curriculum for the 22 MS/PhD programs globally that offer strategic foresight degrees.
Before launching ASF John spent nine years as an educational and software entrepreneur, co-founding and building Hyperlearning, an educational services company sold to The Princeton Review in 1996. He is a lecturer on leadership and technological change at the Naval Postgraduate School (Monterey, CA), an advisor in foresight and forecasting at Singularity University (Mountain View, CA), and a technical advisor to NextIT (Spokane, WA), a leader in intelligent virtual assistant (IVA) platforms. John has authored several next-gen IT foresight studies, including the Metaverse Roadmap, the Conversational Interface and Open Internet TV. His new book, The Foresight Guide: Being a Leader in Anticipating, Creating and Managing the Future, is free online now and debuts on Amazon in 2018.
As a scholar, John is co-founder of the Evo Devo Universe research community, an international community researching evolutionary and developmental processes of change, and a member of the ECCO research group at VUB (Brussels, Belgium).
John has a BS in business administration from UC Berkeley, an MS in futures studies from the University of Houston, a BS-equivalency in biology from UC San Diego, an MS-equivalency in physiology and medicine (two years of medical school and the USMLE-I) from UC San Diego School of Medicine, and has done postbaccalaureate studies in biological, cognitive, computer, and physical sciences at UC San Diego, UCLA, and UC Berkeley. He studied systems theory at UCSD under the mentorship of James Grier Miller (Living Systems, 1978), who mentored under process philosopher Alfred North Whitehead. Dr. Miller encouraged John to pursue multi-scale studies in technological, economic, and social change from a comparative systems perspective.
When You’re Ready to Get Serious about the Future
Foresight Speaking & Keynotes
John speaks to the C-suite, to strategy, policy, R&D and HR teams, to university students and the public on a range of industry and organizational foresight topics. He does presentations and runs seminars (Q&A sessions) and workshops (small group breakouts and report backs) on three main themes:
1. Foresight Development
- Universal Foresight (Preparing for Accelerating Change)
- Personal Foresight (Personal Visioning and Strategic Planning)
- Global Foresight (Societal and Sci-Tech Trends and Scenarios)
- Organizational Foresight (Methods and Models)
2. Adaptive Management and Leadership
- The Do Loop: Eight Skills for Adaptive Foresight
- The Five Goals and Ten Values: Adaptive Leadership
- Lessons for Leaders: Profiting from Accelerating Change
- Foresight Culture: Predicting, Creating, and Managing the Future
3. Global Technology Futures
- Natural Intelligence (Deep Learning)
- Natural Security (Societal and Technological Immune Systems)
- Ten Areas of Technology Change
- Personal Sims (Smart Agents, Groupnets, Valuecosm)
- Mediated Reality (AR, VR, Lifelogs, iTV)
Specialty industry and organizational foresight topics are available on request.
What People Say About John
I first met John when he ran the original Accelerating Change Conference in 2003. It was one of the most eye-opening conference experiences I have had, before or since. John has the ability to take future studies out of academia and present them in a way that makes them tangible to the rest of us.
John has extraordinary gifts. He is foundational to a critical grassroots movement growing in the U.S. His diligent will, coupled with an unyielding passion that defies sensibility, makes him a remarkable basin of attraction for talent. He illuminates intensely what's now possible in life.
John combines deep insights and intellectual rigor to explore what are essentially human concerns relative to accelerating technological change. He has the ability to foster constructive conversations among individuals with very different world views in a way that advances shared understanding and a mutual exploration of viewpoints.
The Foresight Guide & Other Works
Reviews of The Foresight Guide
“John Smart has gathered by far the best collection of vital information illuminating foresight strategies and futures thinking. This outstanding resource links readers to literally thousands of ideas, approaches, organizations and individuals in the futures field. It is required reading for 21st century thinkers.”
One part encyclopedia, one part text, one part self-help, one part editorial, and one part call to action. The field of foresight seems much bigger now than it did before reading this, and my professional reading list is now on a super-exponential curve!
"A wonderful resource for aspiring futurists as well as anybody just interested in learning about foresight. An information packed book that should be in any intro class to Foresight. A comprehensive Foresight 101 book that both professionals and aspirational futurists will enjoy!"
This book is far more than a comprehensive directory of resources - it is a digital gateway to the emerging discipline of Foresight.
A marvelous compendium of knowledge. At a time when the future itself is in doubt, this Guide should prove a boon to policy-makers in business and government, teachers and students of all ages, and everybody really, as the need is universal. Read this book because it is important, but also because it offers a delightful wealth of fascinating ideas.
John Smart and his team have compiled an encyclopedic resource for anyone interested in anticipating, creating and managing the future. The Foresight Guide is the first book anywhere that addresses a complete range of readers interested in the foresight field, including students, educators, and organizational leaders. It is a remarkably complete source for our times.
“Very inspiring and complete book for everybody who is interested in foresight. John writes with passion for our field.”
What a work! It is all in here; this is the book to read to understand and overlook the entire field of foresight.
Ten Areas of Technological Change, ASF, 2012
The Transcension Hypothesis: A Model for Accelerating Change, Acta Astronautica, 2011
How the Television Will Be Revolutionized: The Future of Internet TV, ASF Study, 2010
Driving Toward an Electric Future, ASF, 2006
Measuring Innovation in an Accelerating World, TF&SC, 2005
Human Performance Enhancement in 2032: A Scenario for Military Planners, US Army LTA Brief, 2004
The Conversational Interface: Our Next Great Leap Forward, AccelerationWatch, 2003-2014
Brief History of Intellectual Discussion of Accelerating Change, AccelerationWatch, 1999
The following links will download powerpoint slides or PDFs for select talks:
Intelligence Education in the 2020s, Five Eyes Workshop 2015 (44 slides, PDF)
From Push to Pull: Seven Trends Shaping the Future of Specialty Advertising, ASI Power Summit 2014 (19 slides)
Leadership of Technological Change, MITRE 2013 (75 slides, PDF)
Leadership of Technological Change, WEST 2013 (33 slides)
Global Grand Challenges, Singularity University, 2012 (24 slides)
Adapting to the Future, NPS Navy Senior Leadership Seminar, 2011 (42 slides)
Our Immersive Future: Twelve Developments Worth Fighting For, ImmTech, 2010 (18 slides)
The Digital Self: When Social Media Gets Personal, Dice NextTech 2010 (22 slides)
Foresight Development, Mendoza College of Business, 2009 (69 slides)
For more, see John’s Slides Archive.
Corporate Foresight Consulting
Adaptive Foresight: The Do Loop
Which of these four steps and eight skills are personal strengths? Team strengths? Which need improvement?
Are you measuring and improving each of these skills on your team?
(Feel free to mouse over this graphic for details).
Adaptive Foresight Development (Eight Skills)
Change Management and Leadership
Data Acquisition and Research
Design Thinking and Gamestorming
Digital Competitiveness Assessment
Entrepreneurship and Intrapreneurship
Forecasting and Modeling
Foresight Culture and Process
Ideation and Innovation Management
Intelligence, Security and Risk Management
Learning and Development
Metrics and Scorecards
Product and Service Development
Sales and Marketing
Technology Assessment and Scouting
Scenario Planning and Learning
Strategy, Analysis and Planning
U/X and Usability
Wargaming and Simulations
Workplace Strategies and Design